Tibet's conquest of China's Xi Jinping family

Updated on Feb 04, 2013 12:02 AM IST
The new leader of China, Xi Jinping, has an unusually close and personal connection with the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism. Pramit Pal Chaudhuri reports.
HT Image
HT Image
Hindustan Times | ByPramit Pal Chaudhuri, New Delhi

The new leader of China, Xi Jinping, has an unusually close and personal connection with the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism. That the Dalai Lama presented Xi's father a watch that the latter wore for years afterwards is well-known. What is less known is that Xi's mother was buried with full Tibetan Buddhist rites and Xi's wife has embraced the religion.

Xi acceded to his the request of his mother, Qi Xin, to be buried with full Tibetan Buddhist rites, says Richard Rigby, Chinese expert at the Australian National University and a former analyst with the Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation.

Xi's wife, a popular folk singer and an honorary major-general in the People's Liberation Army, is a well-known practioner of Tibetan Buddhism, say both Rigby and Tibetan scholar and activist Claude Arpi. Arpi says, "One of her songs is about the beauty of Tibet."

The Dalai Lama has often spoken of his friendship with Xi's father. But his gift of an Omega watch to the then Vice-Premier Xi Zhongxun took place in 1954 or 1955, before the Dalai Lama turned against Beijing.

Arpi says when Dalai Lama's brother held informal talks with Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s on Tibet, the rehabilitated Xi Zhongxun still wore the watch.

However, no one believes that Xi Jinping's exposure to Tibetan Buddhism will make much difference as far as Beijing's policy towards Lhasa is concerned.

First, Xi's father and the Dalai Lama were "friends" only in "the Chinese sense of the term" which is "a relationship of mutual political convenience," says Columbia University Tibetan scholar, Robert Barnett. Indian officials also believe there was little or no bond between them.

Second, Xi Jinping heads a collective leadership which cannot waver from the principle that Chinese sovereignty over Tibet cannot be questioned, say Rigby and Barnett.

Third, Tibetan Buddhism has been spreading rapidly among the dominant ethnic Han Chinese the past few decades. Rigby says some believe Tibetan Buddhism has more Han adherents than it has Tibetan believers today. Arpi says Tibet has also emerged as a symbol of natural beauty in modern China. "Twenty million Chinese will visit Tibet this year - a province with three million Tibetans," he said. But fascination with

Tibet does not mean support for Tibetan popular aspirations.

Rebels-Myanmar govt talks in China
Laiza, AP
Myanmar's government and ethnic Kachin rebels in northern Myanmar will hold talks in China this week after some of the worst fighting in the country in years, even as fresh shelling boomed across the frontline. The talks will begin Monday in the Chinese border town of Ruili, officials on both sides said Sunday.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath along with deputy CMs Brajesh Pathak and Keshav Prasad Maurya and party leaders Swatantra Dev Singh and others participate in a silent procession in remembrance of ‘Vibhajan Vibhishika Smriti Diwas’ from Lok Bhavan to GPO park, in Lucknow on Sunday. (ANI PHOTO)

    Mainstream political parties in Uttar Pradesh aim for public connect with patriotic plank

    With Uttar Pradesh drenched in the spirit of patriotism for Independence Day, nearly all the mainstream political parties in the state are either involved in some campaign with patriotic overtones to establish a public connect or busy extending their support to such initiatives. The Aam Aadmi Party has, apart from distributing the tricolour, announced a mass recital of “Jana Gana Mana”, the national anthem, on the eve of 75 years of Independence.

  • Allahabad University campus. (HT file)

    Historians collate I-Day memories of 1947, to be published in journal

    Having compiled the experiences shared by these eyewitnesses, former head and professor of the department of medieval and modern history, Allahabad University Yogeshwar Tiwari and Prof Tiwari's research scholar Akshat Lal shared the information collated by them which would soon be published in a noted Indian research journal. Then vice-chancellor of the University, Amaranatha Jha, had even presided over all the events which were organised by the University, he shared.

  • Mahatma Gandhi was well aware of the importance of the day. He woke up at 2am, an hour earlier than usual, and began performing prayers. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE )

    ‘From today, you have to wear crown of thorns’: Mahatma Gandhi told West Bengal ministers in Kolkata on August 15, 1947

    When members of the West Bengal cabinet came to seek Mahatma Gandhi's blessings in Kolkata (then Calcutta) on August 15, 1947, he said they (ministers) now wore a crown of thorns and should remain humble and be forbearing. This has been recorded in a letter that Mahatma Gandhi wrote from Beliaghata, Calcutta, (now Kolkata) to Agatha Harrison (an English industrial welfare reformer and unofficial diplomat) on August 15, 1947.

  • The Jamshetjee Jeejebhoy (JJ) hospital was built with a donation by a Parsi merchant. Later the Gokuldas Tejpal, Cama and St George’s Hospitals were brought under its wings. (HT Photo)

    A difficult history question on independence day

    In a modern nation's collective consciousness, its Independence Day is an uplifting landmark. It is a time for celebration, nostalgia and shared pride. But as the nation matures, it could also be a juncture to take stock of where we are. And even raise uncomfortable questions. Colonial powers pillaged their colonies for their own benefit, the fruits of which they still enjoy. It set back human progress for the natives in more ways than one.

  • Shinde, whose rebellion against the Sena leadership led to the collapse of the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, took oath as the CM on June 30 with the support of the BJP. (Praful Gangurde/HT Photo)

    CM keeps urban devt, key ministries go to Fadnavis

    Mumbai: Chief minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday allocated portfolios to all 20 members of the council of ministers keeping urban development, transport and public works department with himself, while key ministries — home, finance and housing — went to deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The portfolios were distributed five days after the state government, comprising Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction and the Bharatiya Janata Party, inducted 18 ministers during the first cabinet expansion on August 9.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, August 15, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now